The Manitoba government is ordering Hanover School Division and surrounding schools to transition to remote learning, effective Tuesday, Nov. 24.
The decision, made on the advice of Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, was announced Friday evening.
Seven hours earlier, Roussin revealed the 10-day COVID-19 test positivity rate in Steinbach had reached 40 percent.
"This change is being made in light of the widespread community transmission of COVID-19. The decision to move to Critical (red) is not a reflection of school-based virus transmission," the province said in a release.
All 19 HSD schools, one DSFM school, and eight independent schools are affected by the order and will be elevated to the red or critical level on the province’s colour-coded pandemic response system.
Schools have notified families and staff that students must transition to teacher-led remote learning at home.
Schools will be closed, except to the K-6 children of critical services workers who can’t make alternate child care arrangements, and to students over age 12 who are children of critical services workers and have disabilities or special needs that preclude them from staying home independently.
The government is exploring transportation options for these students, but school divisions are not responsible for student transportation during code red school restrictions.
The province defines critical service workers as health and health services providers; K-12 teachers, administrators, and support staff; child care workers; law enforcement and corrections personnel; fire and paramedic first responders; and direct social services and child protection workers.
Frontline natural resource workers, gas station attendants, and grocery store staff may also be considered critical service workers, the province said, but priority access to schools will be given to the children of health care providers.